Review
Rieu leads his audience a merry waltz

By Rob George Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 11:01

Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra

LG Arena – Birmingham.

VIOLINIST and conductor Andre Rieu waltzed his way into the LG Arena in Birmingham for a magical evening of music and entertainment to entrance his appreciative audience.

The 'King of the Waltz' concluded three nights of concerts in the second city with a packed programme of classical music and beautiful harmonies to put everyone in the 3,000 strong crowd in the mood for Christmas.

While Rieu and his orchestra are always dressed for the occasion, morning suits for the men and ball gowns for the ladies, this does not stop the group having fun while they work.

Many of the classical music pieces feature some form of entertainment or fun for the audience to enjoy as well as the majestic melody being played.

From smoke billowing from the instruments being played at a sensational speed to the gentle flirting between Rieu and his beautiful opera singers, each piece is delivered with a smile on the face.

The maestro from Maastricht in Holland knows how to captivate, compel and even tease his audience during a near three-hour extravaganza.

Wonderful pieces from around the globe were delivered in a first half which Rieu invited us to meet many members of his orchestra, his wonderful tenors and the opera singers.

You realise very quickly that Rieu wants you to get close to him and the orchestra, because then he can truly captivate you and draw you in to his web of musical melody.

The charm offensive continued in the second half but only after Rieu gave latecomers a gentle nudge to hurry them back into the seats.

No one appeared to mind though as the charming 63-year-old soon invited the audience to take to the floor for a waltz to Strauss's own 'Blue Danube'.

Many responded and while the dancing might not be on a par with that in Strictly Come Dancing, the joy on the faces of those on their feet was a sight to behold.

A wonderful version of Bolero followed before Rieu wished his audience goodbye. However, the 3,000 strong crowd demanded more and were rewarded in style.

Performing more encores than One Direction in front of screaming teenagers, Rieu delivered a finale to savour which included a rousing and emotive performance of Amazing Grace together with friends from the West Midlands Fire Service pipe band.

Rieu could easily have carried on all night and based on this show it will be a long time before the 'King of the Waltz' take his final bow.

Rob George

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